Dirt Bike Slang We Think You Should Know
Dirt bike/motocross riders speak their own language, and if you’re new to the offroad riding world, you’re gonna feel lost hearing a whole lot of offroad riding lifestyle lingo you might not understand.
To help new riders understand some of the headscratching jargon, we’ve compiled a list of dirt bike riding/motocross terminology. While this is by no means a comprehensive list, we’ve selected the dirt bike terms, phrases, acronyms and slang we felt are important to new riders. Some of these words and phrases aren’t necessarily motocross-exclusive (“canned”, “lemon”, “nailed it”, et al), but if they’re commonly used in the dirt bike world, we included them here.
And since here at Partzilla.com we sell, well … parts, as well as accessories and apparel, we threw in a few “cheats” that aren’t necessarily motocross jargon but are still important to know if you own a dirt bike. Without further ado, here’s our list of dirt bike/motocross terms we think you should know.
The parts on a dirt bike not made by the original engine manufacturer (see OEM) of the machine (Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, Yamaha, etc.). For example, “I did an aftermarket rims and tires upgrade on my Honda CRF450.”
An acronym for American Motorcycle Association, the governing body for the motocross (MX) sport in the United States.
When you crouch too low on the seat of the dirt bike and the seat “kicks” your backside.
Also known as a hydration pack, it’s a plastic container that carries water and is accessible from your backpack or tank bag through a tube.
A somewhat (no pun intended) dirty technique in which a rider cuts off another rider in a corner to make them lose momentum. Often a maneuver used to pass a rider who’s hard to get around.
Similar to the block pass but in reverse, in which a rider hits the brakes while already in front of another rider to mess up the momentum of the rider behind them.
The onomatopoeic noise a dirt bike makes, often used for comedic effect to tell a story, describe a ride, end a conversation or simply make a joke.
It’s a helmet.
You may have heard the word "canned" when a person is fired from a job: “He got canned from his job today.” In this case, it means when a riding event is cancelled unexpectedly.
Coming up short on a landing, with the front wheel on the back of the landing and the rear wheel on the front of the landing, causing the frame and the motor to hit the ground hard.
Short for cubic centimeters, which refers to the size of the motor. For example, a Honda CRF450 has a 449cc (rounded out) engine.
A poorly maintained or beat up dirt bike that is somehow still running. If the bike looks and sounds bad, it’s said to be “clapped out”.
Related: Tips for Restoring an Old Dirt Bike
A rider who rarely or never stands up on the bike while riding. Cruisers always seem to be seated no matter what conditions they encounter on the track or trail.
An acronym for Did Not Finish, which refers to motocross riders who didn’t finish a race because their dirt bike broke down, or the rider got injured or simply gave up.
Short for Did Not Start. A motocross rider that was registered to race but no-showed.
Simply means shifting the bike to a lower gear.
A style of dirt bike riding that’s done in a forested area.
Fan Boy (or Fan Boi)
Dirt bike owners who firmly believe in and are loyal to only one motorcycle brand. A fan boy will dismiss the value of any other dirt bike brand: “He’s a Yamaha fan boy and says he won't even touch a Kawasaki.”
The act of a skilled rider pretending to be a squid (see Squid definition) just for laughs. In other words, a fast rider mockingly pretending to be a slow or unskilled rider.
Handlebars and grip attachments that protect a dirt bike rider’s hands from obstacles such as tree branches and flying debris.
At the beginning of a race when the riders take off, the first racer to reach the first corner of the track is said to get the holeshot. It basically means getting the early lead and being the first to reach the first turn.
A dirt bike rider who cruises along residential streets unlicensed. They’re looked down upon by legitimate riders for giving law-abiding dirt bike riders a bad name.
Related: Can I Make a Dirt Bike Street Legal?
Swinging the rear tire of the bike sideways while keeping the front wheel grounded.
By definition, the word "knobbly" means lumpy or misshapen, but it's also used as a variation that refers to dirt bike tires, which are knobby.
A motocross rider who falls behind and gets overtaken or “lapped” (passed by a full lap) at least once during a race.
An acronym for Last Chance Qualifier, a stipulation that gives a motocross rider one last chance to qualify for a major race after failing to qualify the first time around.
An unreliable dirt bike that constantly breaks down and needs frequent repairs.
When a rider pushes beyond their abilities, loses control of the bike and wipes out.
A rider who stands unusually high and far too often on their dirt bike to scan the horizon, just like a meerkat.
The state of a dirt bike rider’s sweaty and irritated butt cheeks after riding for hours on end.
The acronym for Motocross.
The opposite of “lost it”, where the rider attempts a difficult maneuver or jump and “nails it” (gets it right).
The acronym for Original Equipment Manufacturer, which is the company that made your dirt bike and its original or genuine parts. It’s the opposite of aftermarket parts. For example, “I want OEM Honda brake pads, not aftermarket pads.”
Related: OEM Motorcycle Parts: Pros and Cons
An acronym for Over The Bar, when a dirt bike comes to an abrupt stop and sends the rider flying over the handlebar.
Nickname for a 50cc dirt bike, and also a class of racing for junior riders.
Related: Yamaha PW50 Spotlight
Keeping the throttle of the bike wide open to conquer a section of the track.
The plastic panels of a dirt bike, which are also known as fenders, fairings and cowlings.
Related: Why Are Motorcycle Fairings So Expensive?
Often used as a derogatory word to describe a rider who’s afraid to get dirty. They usually finish a race with pristine or nearly spotless and/or scratch-less plastics and gear.
An acronym for Pounds per Square Inch, the measurement for tire pressure.
Pretty self-explanatory, but it’s an all-encompassing term for the apparel and protective equipment a rider wears. You might also see or hear the acronym ATGATT, which means All The Gear All The Time, in reference to motorcycle riding gear.
A rider for whom money is no object, and who seems to always have the best and latest bikes, equipment and riding gear available.
The sensation a rider experiences going over large rocks at slow speeds, which feels like riding a bull.
“Roost” is a term used to describe the dirt, mud or gravel thrown into the air by a dirt bike, so getting roosted means getting pelted by roost from the rider in front of you.
The acronym for Revolutions Per Minute, the unit of speed that represents how many times the crankshaft makes a full rotation around its axis in a single minute.
A track is said to be “rutted out” if too many tires have been digging into the ground and it’s in rough shape, creating ruts in the dirt that make it hard to ride.
A much maligned motocross rider who races in classes slower than their known abilities to increase their chances of winning.
Exactly what it sounds like, a section of an offroad track that’s full of sand. Think of it like a giant sand trap on a golf course, but for dirt bikes.
A measurement of the suspension travel on a dirt bike when the rider sits on it. Sag measurements serve to make adjustments to the bike for the rider’s comfort and effectiveness.
Simply means when a rider tries to stay low while making a jump. The rider will lean heavily to one side to keep the dirt bike grounded for a quicker landing and more speed.
Slip the Clutch
When a rider gradually releases the clutch lever during a ride.
No, it doesn’t mean you “soiled” your pants. Being soiled is actually a good thing in the dirt bike world. It’s an adjective used to describe a rider completely covered in mud or dirt from head to toe, which is seen as a sign of a good ride.
Related: Tips for Riding Dirt Bikes in Mud
A derogatory term to describe a rider that looks awkward or just bad on the track. Squids have no discernible riding style, or simply look like amateurs that need more training.
The sudden loss of control of a dirt bike that makes it slide around the rider.
A dirt bike riding class designation to describe the fastest kids still using 85cc to 105cc minibikes.
Related: Yamaha TT-R90 Spotlight
Thin plastic sheets stacked over and shaped like goggle lenses that can be torn off when they get covered in mud or dirt. Tear-offs come in handy when you get roosted and need to clear your goggles so you can see again.
When the front tire of a dirt bike loses traction and causes the rider to fall over.
Riders who typically don’t ride during weekdays due to being stuck at work, but never miss a chance to ride when the weekend comes around.
To “pop a wheelie” is to accelerate the bike while raising the front wheel in the air.
It’s when you “whip” the back of the bike out to the side while you’re in the air.
A common mistake in which a rider throttles too hard and slips off the back of the bike while holding onto the throttle, causing the rider to lose control and crash.
A whoop section is a series of small consecutive bumps or mounds that a rider needs to skim along the tops of at slow speeds (not jump over) to conquer them.
What’s left over in scattered dirt bike parts after a horrible crash during a race is often referred to as a yard sale, basically because the bike as a whole is a total loss and might as well be sold for parts.
If you crash your dirt bike and it’s fortunate enough to not become the victim of a “yard sale,” get the replacement parts you need to fix it up right here at Partzilla.com.